With the decks getting cleared for the bull taming festival of Jallikattu in neighbouring Tamil Nadu, there is a growing chorus for organising Kambala -- a traditional annual buffalo race in marshy fields held in the coastal districts of Karnataka.
Kambala committees have decided to meet in Mangaluru on Sunday to strategise their agitation.
“By coming Wednesday or Thursday we are also planning an agitation in this region. By organising a large-scale agitation in Mangaluru, we want to attract the attention of politicians and the whole nation. Kambala lovers from Udupi and Mangaluru regions and 150-200 pairs of buffaloes will participate in it,” Kamabala committee president Ashok Rai said.
He said “when Jallikattu has got permission, Kambala should also get it, because no violence is involved in it. It is part of our cultural heritage.”
Karnataka High Court’s division bench, headed by chief justice SK Mukherjee, in an interim order in November, 2016 had stayed holding of Kambala on a petition by PETA challenging it in view of orders passed by the Supreme Court on Jallikattu.
Kambala committees have filed an interim application, seeking vacation of the stay. The matter came up on Friday before the division bench of the High Court, which adjourned the case to January 30.
“Kambala has been disrupted because of PETA’s ill intentions. We have faith that we will get legal victory also. There is a lot of difference between Kambala and Jallikattu,” PR Shetty, member of Kambala Committee said.
Support for Kambala, a folk sport, has gained momentum on social media websites also.
The ban has sparked a debate on whether the event amounts to cruelty to animals or is it just a simple rural sport.
Kambala in its traditional form is a non-competitive sport, with buffalo pairs made to race one after another in paddy fields. It is considered a thanksgiving to the Gods for protecting the animals from diseases.
Over the years, it has become an organised sport with animal rights activists claiming that the buffaloes run in the race due to fear of being beaten up, which the organisers dismissed saying that no violence was involved and that several modifications had been made to ensure that it was an animal-friendly event.